Each year, the cost of healthcare rises. Don't spend more than you have to.
In 2010, health expenditures in the United States reached nearly $2.6 trillion, and more than 17 percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was accounted for by health spending. Each year, the cost of healthcare rises, creating a serious financial burden for average citizens. Luckily, there are ways to spend less on healthcare. Here are five of our favorites.
Buy Cheaper Drugs
Most insurance plans use a tiered system for medications. The average price for brand-name drugs is $50, while the average rate for generic drugs is just $10. Switching to a generic brand saves you money without sacrificing your health.
What if your medication has no generic counterpart? Many large employers have eliminated or restricted coverage of brand-name drugs, so compare your insurance plan with your spouse's to see if you can find a better deal. If that is not an option, talk to your doctor about switching to a lower-priced drug.
Keep Tabs on Your Stats
Checkup visits are often expensive, even if you have insurance. These visits do not actively treat your condition; they just monitor your symptoms and progress. To save money, monitor your own stats with home-testing kits. For example, you can get a glucose kit for as little as $10 or a blood-pressure monitor for under $50. These easy-to-use, accurate and inexpensive kits may even be reimbursed by your insurer. Know the normal ranges for your condition, then alert your doctor if you experience any significant changes.
Avoid Unnecessary Tests
The cost of diagnostic and preventive tests can put a serious dent in your bank account, even if you have health insurance. An MRI, for instance, can cost anywhere between $500 and $2,500. Unless your doctor suspects a serious condition, refuse tests for muscle aches and pains and other simple issues.
Plan Dental Work in Advance
If you are close to your annual maximum for dental care but need a procedure or restoration, talk to your dentist about waiting until the next calendar year to save money. If you need multiple expensive procedures like bridges, crowns or braces, take a medical tax deduction by doing them all in the same year.
Make a Deal with Your Doctor
Talk to your doctor about money-saving measures. You may get a discount for offering to pay in cash or committing to settling your bill within a short time period. It never hurts to ask!
What are your strategies for saving on healthcare? Share your best tips in the comments section!